Saturday, June 06, 2009

collab fests 1 - 21

collab fest 1 07.31.08

cell phone poems by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective and john m. bennett, collaborative collage, an acoustic set by members of the magic twig community, an exhibit of posters, paintings, drawings, texts, assemblages and other artworks by members of the magic twig community, soft sculptures by ralph eaton, books and notebooks of mail art and visual poetry, and a numerological fluxus poem for bill o'reilly

collab fest 2 08.27.08

collaborative collage, notebooks and books of mail art and visual poetry, a stencil painting by geoff conley, cell phone poems by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective and john m. bennett

photographs by sue leftwich, aaron bensen, suzun hughes, jim leftwich and ralph eaton

collab fest 3 09.15.08

two performances by id m theft able, bike love by loyd padgett, a collaborative video by witcyst and id m theft able (“tilda”, mang disc #44), cell phone poems by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective, collaborative collage, stencils by geoff conley, assemblages by lee melozzi, sculptures by ralph eaton, notebooks of mail art and visual poetry – all in the context of a tribute to pete Haskell

collab fest 4 09.24.08

vinyl laceration by loyd padgett, videos by matt ames, a slide show by geoff conley, post-neo absurdist cell phone poetry, collaborative collage, and an exhibit of yard sale signs

collab fest 5 10.08.08

situationist films provided by matt ames, noise by loyd padgett, collaborative add and pass mail art, text/image slide show by ralph eaton, assemblage by geoff conley, post-neo absurdist cell phone poems, books and notebooks of mail art and visual poetry

collab fest 6 10.22.08

music by the situationist and nancy and 2 meteors, films provided by matt ames, paintings and assemblages by geoff conley, lee melozzi, and dj dickie, collaborative collage, notebooks and books of mail art and visual poetry, bible babble display by ralph eaton, costumed performances by everybody

collab fest 7 11.05.08

doug shelor and paul thompson, percussion, loyd padgett, vinyl laceration, collaborative sheets provided by jeff crouch, anti-war text/image notebooks by ralph eaton, booklets, TLPs, and broadsides of visual poetry and mail art

collab fest 8 11.19.08

le dolphin fantastique by the roanoke film collective, surrealist films from matt ames, guitar/systhesizer improvisations by david frost, cell phone poems by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective, an exhibit of earlier collab fest pieces, text/image and collage works, the live matter tonerworks series from reed altemus, notebooks of mail art and visual poetry, ephemeral underwear balloon sculptures by ralph eaton

collab fest 9 12.03.08

an exhibit of cured teddy bears by ralph eaton - and the costume of teddy bears he's making for the cabinet of curiosities show, ambient sounds by jesse beaman, collaborative collage, guitar/synthesizer improvisations by david frost, notebooks of mail art and visual poetry, cell phone poems by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective, long conversations about fluxus, world-class art museums, the upcoming marginal arts festival, and related tangents

photographs by david frost, jim leftwich, and ralph eaton

collab fest 10 12.17.08

guitar feedback and improvised drones by matt and steve of the helicon family, ralph eaton's shelves of altered teddy bears, doodles, lyrics, and other items from the magic twig community, notebooks of mail art and visual poetry, collaborative collage, a box of found junk and a bag of plastic army men

collab fest 11 12.31.08

music by nancy and 2 meteors and the situationist, collaborative collage, pith geist video by crank sturgeon, alphaville courtesy of matt ames, bernstein's experiments, a list of situationist graffiti in paris, 1968, from the bureau of public secrets, an exhibit of pure art coffins, a fluxus box, gestural photography, sculptures of modified stuffed animals by ralph eaton, two quart-bag assemblages and one gallon-bag sculpture, notebooks of mail art and visual poetry, and an exhibit of works made during the first 10 collab fests

photos by sue leftwich, jim leftwich, and ralph eaton

collab fest 12 01.14.09

collaborative collage, notebooks and booklets and tlps (tacky little pamphlets) of mail art and visual poetry, whirling dervish stuffed animal backpack dance by beth deel, collaborative scroll from the 2008 marginal arts festival, modified stuffed animal sculptures by ralph eaton, post-marxist physics and magic realism in the temporary autonomous zone (a sidewalk symposium), add-and-pass quart bag collages, and an anti-homage to the decider

collab fest 12.5 01.17.09

a celebration of art's birthday (an annual event first proposed in 1963 by french artist robert filliou. he suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. but one day, on the 17th of january to be precise, art was born. according to filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.), collaborative found junk assemblage and quart bag collage, collaborative booklets, pamphlets, broadsides and tlps, a collaborative splat poem, stuffed animal backpack performances by ralph eaton and tj anderson, sound poetry performances by olchar lindsann, evan damerow, tomislav butkovic, warren fry and bradley chriss of the post-neo absurdist anti-collective (with a guest appearance by alicia lerner), appearances by the post-neo familiars, rubber chickens, circuit bent toys and other noisy instruments, with chili over rice

photographs by ralph eaton, sue leftwich, and jim leftwich

collab fest 13 01.28.09

anarchist subjectivity, collaborative quart bag collages, cut-up protest poems, gestural photography, plans for the marginal arts festival (ubu enchained by the post-neo absurdist anti-collective, a day of sound and visual poetry, green candles hatchets and ribbons…), lee melozzi’s proposal for art recycling bins, the art of shit, preparations for the nothing is real / the real is the impossible / impossible is nothing anti-spectacle (eta / tba), an homage to yves klein (for his exhibition at the iris clert gallery in april 1958, klein chose to show nothing whatsoever, called la spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, le vide ((the specialization of sensibility in the raw material state into stabilized pictorial sensibility, the void)) (fyi || diy), tables floors ceilings lamps walls fans doors corners heaters cords ladders mirrors and chairs

collab fest 14 02.11.09

the fuzzy suit, modified stuffed animal backpack dances by ralph eaton and beth deel, gestural photography, blasphemy against the lesser gods, hope and change for the greater good, fear and loathing for the hell of it, plans for parades and dinners, poems and pictures, objects and actions, effigies and soliloquies and soapboxes in the center of the city

photos by lee melozzi and jim leftwich

collab fest 15 - 03.11.09

proposed activities for collab fest 15:



doing simple things for simple reasons
doing simple things for complex reasons
doing complex things for simple reasons
doing complex things for complex reasons

write a hierarchical version on a sheet on the wall
write a spectral version on a scroll on the floor

destroy the hierarchical version

hang the spectral version across the door
re-hang for each statement


readings (over a cell phone to the post-neos):

the shredded law: poems from the street
multiple readers reading simultaneously from a bag of shredded texts

outside by the arts district wall:

poems on fire (protest poems read while burning)

burning mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum)


collaborative activities:
altered books
quart bag collages


john m. bennett and jim leftwich – banging the stone
john m. bennett and martin gubbins – 30 dialogos sonores


video by matt ames and ralph eaton


joseph beuys - postkarten


some of this stuff happened
some didn't
some other things happened
ralph eaton took the photos

collab fest 16 - 03.25.09

tonight we will take the old collab fest pieces to the water heater and do something with them. first, we will offer to give them away to anyone who shows up. then we will cut them up and make little booklets out of them (and maybe make some little sculptural objects out of some of them). at the end of the night we will take the ones that are left and distribute them around town. that will be the end of stage one of the collab fests.

(we did the first part of this.)

i may try another short and fairly simple performance piece tonight. i want to do an exhibit of three empty chairs on pedestals. after a while i'll place a dictionary, open to the page with 'chair' on it, on one of the chairs, a can of campbell's soup on another one, and the decorated '17' sign from the studio annex on the third one. a little while later i'll try to get two people to join me either standing, squatting or kneeling on the chairs, one holding the dictionary as if reading it, the other balancing the soup can on their head, while i 'hold' the ‘17’ sign in my mouth. i'll use the black 'pedestals' that are already at the water heater and place them in front of the mirror. the photographs should look pretty good, and a number of imbricate and/or colliding interpretations would seem inevitable. it also could be fun, if folks will join in.

(we did the first two parts of this.)

we watched a short video called Dad's Pantry Drawer by Ralph Eaton and Matt Ames. we talked about edward tufte, scratch acid and paul flaherty. most of the time we tried not to walk on the paintings exhibited on the floor. lisa from las vegas dropped in to see what collab fest was about and stayed for 3 hours. just before she left she said “this is way outside of my comfort zone. there aren't any boundaries here”.

collab fest 17 - 04.08.09

collab fest 17 was a public viewing of an episode of Art 21. the quotes are from interviews posted at the Art 21 site. the single photograph is of the television we used to view the episode.

ART 21: Season 4: romance & contemporary art

Laurie Simmons: “I think that artists are always doing research on their own behalf and for their work. For some artists it’s reading. For some it’s shopping. For some it’s traveling. And I think that there’s always this kind of seeking quality that artists have where they’re looking for things that will jog them and move them in one direction or another. For me, movies and books have always been research. Finding objects will always stimulate a series or get my mind going in another direction. I might be wandering around and see a figure or a piece of furniture or a picture that just starts me thinking about a whole other direction that I can move in. And of course that has to intersect with what I’m thinking about, my state of mind, my feeling about current politics or some psychological issue that’s pressing. I see that all as research, just having all the threads of your life come together to tell you where you should go with your work.”

Lari Pittman: “I’m thrilled that the work is not confined to one demographic. That it is actually astoundingly mobile in that sense. I think that’s a political resonance of the work. It just doesn’t occupy the confines of a type of writing that might occur in “Artforum” or in “October.” And I think it has to do with the visual generosity of it. A lot of work can only occupy very specific linguistic territories or very specific critical territories. But I think that my work has the capacity to navigate between the very distant poles of populist and elitist.”

Judy Pfaff: “I’ve been very involved in not having a signature material. I think there is a signature style. It’s like handwriting. And I have a feeling that anybody who’s seen much of my work would probably recognize it as mine. But I don’t use the same materials. I like having different kinds of input coming in.”

Pierre Huyghe: “What I am interested in is setting up a reality, building a situation, constructing a world, and documenting it.”

photo by matt ames

collab fest 18 - 04.22.09

- solar-powered noise by loyd padgett on the sidewalk in front of the studio annex on kirk ave.

- we dressed ralph in a suit of art. layers and wraps of old collab fest sheets. hugo ball. transformers. a temporary autonomous zone sandwich board. a maneuvering board as a mask. the number 7 for a nose.

- we walked down kirk to jefferson to campbell, to the boarded-up old woolworths building. matt ames, brian counihan and beth deel made videos.

- tuesday night email from ralph: The plan will be to meet at the Water Heater at the usual time, 7pm, and then go to to Brian's studio, aka the studio annex, at 16 Kirk Ave. At the studio, I'll cover myself with the collaborative images that we've made so far, like a suit. Then we will go out, and walk around the block, to the Campbell Mart store front (see attached photo). At that location, Jim and anyone else will begin removing/tearing off pieces of the “suit of CF images” and staple them to the plywood storefront. I think that we should arrange them to read T A Z ... temporary autonomous zone. Once we're done, we walk away, & return to the studio annex, then the Water Heater. That's the basic plan.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with what T A Z means, check out this link ...

I think that this public action is a manifestation of creating a temporary autonomous zone, and leaving the message T A Z behind as a self-referential sign of the action, points to an idea that is fundamental to collab fest's ideology. This ideology links to the other flash mob public events that some of us have participated in recently ... the pillow fight and the big wheel race.

- back to the studio annex, then to the water heater. ralph handed out a stack of “tales from the zone” pamphlets made by the los angeles chapter of the cacophony society in the early 90s. (laundromat poetry readings and other anarchic public interventions…) i handed out cards with this event score printed on them:

LaMonte Young - Composition #3 1960

Announce to the audience when the piece will begin and end if there is a limit on duration.
It may be of any duration.

Then announce that everyone may do whatever he wishes for the duration of the composition.

(beth deel performed this twice. one response: sit quietly. watch and listen. be respectful, responsive and responsible.)

- beth took a bunch of the cards, along with some add-and-pass collab fest fake dollar bills, to distribute around town.

- improvised guitar and synth noise by loyd padgett and david frost.

photos by aaron bensen, ralph eaton and sue leftwich.

collab fest 19 - 05.06.09

collab fest 19 was a public viewing of an episode of Art 21. the quotes are from interviews posted at the Art 21 site.

hoola hoop decoration and aerial silk ballet by beth deel and friends.

photographs by ralph eaton.

Nancy Spero: Maybe the strongest work I’ve done is because it was done with indignation. Considering myself as a feminist, I don’t want my work to be a reaction to what male art might be or what art with a capital A would be. I just want it to be art. In a convoluted way, I am protesting—protesting the usual way art is looked at, being shoved into a period or category. But I don’t want to tell anyone they have to do this or that. I do what I do, and I’m not standing up for women’s art. I just do what I do, and if people want to take something from it I’m thrilled because in a way that gets my message to the world.

An-My Lê: The kind of work that I make is not the standard political work. It’s not agitprop. You would think, because I’ve seen so much devastation and lived through a war, that I should make something that’s outwardly antiwar. But I am not categorically against war. I was more interested in drawing people into my work to think about the issues that envelop war—representations of war, landscape and terrain in war.

Alfredo Jaar: People describe me sometimes as a conceptual artist, as a political artist, with work of a strong political connotation or social content. I always reject those labels. I’m an artist, and believe it or not I’m interested in beauty and I’m not afraid of it. It is an essential tool to attract my audience, and sometimes I use it to introduce horror because the audience has to be seduced. If we learned anything from the activist art of the 1960s it is that when you make that kind of work people don’t even get close to you. They don’t want to see another drop of blood on the floor. So beauty becomes a tool to bring the audience in.

Jenny Holzer: It has always been hard for me to write, as I think it is for anyone who wants to write well. I was pleased to leave it, and I have no idea whether I’ll write again. One reason why I stopped was because I tend to write about ghastly subjects. So it’s not just the difficulty of having something turn out right, but it’s also the difficulty of staying with the material long enough to complete it. It’s necessary to be emotionally engaged when writing about these topics. It’s exhausting.
I know that my researchers and I have had to stop various times reading the material for these redacted paintings. Sometimes it’s a relief to come to the pages that are wholly blacked out because then for at least a page or so you don’t have to read what was there.

collab fest 20 - 05.20.09

experimental noise band from Orlando, Fl, Imagine Your Wife In This.

electronic improvisations by Future Snakes.

vinyl lacerations by loyd padgett.

free improv noise jam with Imagine Your Wife In This, Future Snakes, loyd padgett, and matt ames.

caution tape junk sculptures.

collaborative painting.

notebooks of mail art and visual poetry.

dancing. talking. peaceable assembling.

collab fest 21 - 06.03.09

music on vinyl provided by ralph eaton and loyd padgett (flipper, fear, captain beefheart, big black, the butthole surfers, the clash, rat music for rat people, the haters, the date fark seeps the river volume 2...)

a selection of cds from loyd's noise collection (richard ramiriz, kenji siratori, sailor winters, sirens, golden wire / disthroned agony, rei rea...)

books and magazines: asemia, punk, visual poetry, mail art, collaboration, writing against itself (tim gaze, luc fierens, marton koppany, john buckner, john m. bennett, serge segay, rea nikonova, jim leftwich, scott helmes, marco giovenale, bela grimm, olchar lindsann, radio riot, new york nights, gestalten, bananafish, entropy...)

matt ames' collection of khmer comics and a deck of cards from the 80s featuring america's favorite dictators

entropic books
2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.
5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

an exhibit of quart bag assemblages made at various collab fests and during the 2009 marginal arts festival.